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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Hillsboro, NH usa
    Posts
    69

    Post

    Hi,

    Newbee here with just last year as experience. Started with one overpopulated hive given to me, ended the year with four due to excessive swarm activity (caught 3, lost at least two more, so all hives were fairly weak). Here in NH, this was a brutal winter with NO Feb. thaws, etc. When I finally was able to check hives (knowing that I had only one left by the no-dead-bees-in-the-snow evidence), I found that they had starved despite AMPLE stores. My feel is I must have fed them too late last fall, and they didn't have time to cure it properly?? What I found is that the cells crystalized. They had very little food they could actully use and ran out of energy (due to the extreme cold?) to go further from the swarm to find more food. I thought I followed the directions in feeding them heavy syrup (seems it can be too heavy?). Surprises me that the bees would cap stuff that wasn't properly cured...The other part of the question is, what do I do with many frames of hard feed and much pollen. I left a frame out today and the bees were very much more interested in the pollen than the syrup. Hate to whaste all that nice comb, but wonder if the hard stuff would extract. Considering de-capping and blasting it out with a hose. Way too much to leave out for one hive to "rob" right? Final idea might be to scrape it off the foundation (whaste the comb) and cut with water to lighter syrup and freeze for fall feeding.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lynnville, Ia, USA
    Posts
    165

    Post

    If your are going to replace the bees in your dead hives, you have no problem. The bees wil use the crystalized honey when they can bring water home to liquify it. If you have frames that are packed hard with pollen, that's a different story. Bees will seldom use it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi,

    Hmmmmmmmm....bees can eat granulated honey. I have always used granulated honey for emergency feeding via honey packet method. But anyways to deal with granulated honey in the combs or just left over honey in combs. Use a capping scratcher or hot knife and uncap them. Place these under the brood nest. Bees do not like honey there and will clean out in good flight weather and move up. Make sure to reduce the entrances if in an area with many colonies so as not to insight robbing.

    Clay


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Post

    Bee don't need water to eat crystalized honey. There is the same water content in it as regular honey, it just crystalized. Bees won't starve on crystalized honey.

    You have another problem.

    They can starve with adequate stores, if they stores are in the corners or somewhere they don't move to and the weather stays cold for too long.

    My guess is it is something else.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited March 28, 2003).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,909

    Post

    From what you have said, it sound like the bees died because heavey swarming, combined with a cold harsh winter. Because of the cold winter, and their small population, the bees were not able to break cluster to feed on stores throughout the hive. Swarm control is probably the most important hive manipulation a beekeeper can do a colony. Micheal is absolutely correct, "Bees won't starve on crystalized honey". Crystalized honey may place more stress on the bees, resulting in Nosema or disentry, but they will not starve.

    >>My feel is I must have fed them too late last fall, and they didn't have time to cure it properly
    >>Surprises me that the bees would cap stuff that wasn't properly cured

    I don't think bees normaly cap heavey surip when fed in fall. They will cap thin surip in the spring, but it seems wasted effort for them to cap fall fed heavey surip. I don't know, I have never opened a hive in late fall.

    Ian

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Post

    Honey, syrup or other stores, don't crystallize because they are improperly cured. It only takes one crystal to start syrup crystallizing and then it's a chain reaction. It doesn't hurt anything. Honey often crystallized too. I wouldn't worry about cleaning up the comb; just give it to the bees.

    Crystallization is only a minor inconvenience to the bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Lyme, NH, USA
    Posts
    165

    Post

    I'm sorry you lost your bees. My guess is that, after so many swarms, the hives were too weak going into the winter. In the future you might want to combine weak hives in the fall, using a sheet of newspaper betweeen them. A larger mass of bees might be more likely to survive, and you could split them again in the spring if necessary.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Post

    Another way to overwinter several weak hives is put the strongest on the bottom with a double screen wire (see plans section) and then the next strongest etc. with the weakest on top. The heat and humidity is shared by the bees and the upper bees benefit from the wasted heat of the ones below. Still if they are really weak, you may need to combine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Hillsboro, NH usa
    Posts
    69

    Post

    iowabeeman, interesting that my one hive is VERY interested in collecting pollen from the frames I've pulled from the dead hives, and not too in the capped syrup/honey. I spent a couple hours today helping them extract it from broken comb (kinda fun being right in their faces on a friendly basis). I've used a garden hose to flush out a few frames of uncapped hardened sugar so that I have some drawn comb to do a strong split in the coming days. The live hive has no shortage of available feed, but brood space is at a major shortage level, I'll need to pull out some full frames this week. I intend to reverse, and put lots of drawn comp in place of the surplus food comb and feed light syrup to promote brood?. Question...can I store a few frames of capped food at semi-outdoor (cool garage wrapped in large plastic bags to keep vermin out) temps, or will the pollen cells mold? Froze all I have room for. By the way, thanks for the feedback that maybe I didn't (directly at least) cause the hive deaths. Last year was a learning curve, and this year, I'll concentrate on having STRONG hives going into winter. Thought that as long as there were ample stores the hives were ok, but have learned that's not the case. Thanks
    Gary

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Post

    Is the stuff in the freezer in bags? I'd pull some of it out, because any moth eggs will be dead, and put the other in the freezer to kill the eggs in it. Then you could keep it all without the freezer if you like.

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